Taxes are one of life’s certainties. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual, if you earn income, you’ll need to pay taxes on it. How much you need to pay can vary considerably based on how well you prepare your tax return. Numerous deductions, exemptions and credits can make your tax bill much more affordable.
Depending on your situation, getting your taxes done by a professional is worth it. A tax preparer reviews your return with a fine-toothed comb, looking for legitimate ways to lower your tax bill. Learn more about the advantages of working with a tax preparer and how to find a tax professional who’s a good fit for you.
Benefits of a Filing Tax Return
While businesses and individuals need to file an annual tax return, not everyone does. For example, if your income is less than the standard deduction, you won’t owe any tax and don’t have to file a return.
Even if you don’t have to do it, filing a return can be in your best interest. If you want to claim a tax credit or get a refund for any tax withheld from your pay, you’ll need to file.
Businesses usually have to file a tax return, too. The exception is for partnerships, which file an information return. The partners then report their individual earnings on their own tax returns.
Although filing a tax return can seem like an unnecessary added burden, it can mean that you get money back. Filing your return every year also helps avoid tax penalties and interest, which can accrue if you don’t file and owe the government.
What are the Advantages of Using a Tax Professional When Filing Your Taxes?
In many cases, it is better to go to a tax preparer than to file your taxes on your own. The benefit of using a tax professional is particularly evident if you own a business or are an individual with a complicated return. If you itemize, have to pay self-employment taxes or have income from a job and dividends, the additional cost is often worth it to hire a tax professional.
Take a look at a few advantages of having a professional file your taxes.
1. Helps You Develop a Tax Strategy
If you feel that your company is paying too much in taxes and you’re not sure how to lower your tax bill, bringing on a professional can help. Along with helping to prepare your tax return, a tax professional can help you develop a strategy and plan to lower your tax obligation.
Several tax deductions are available to business owners and homeowners, but not many people know about them. A tax professional will dig deep into the tax code and uncover the deductions you’re eligible for that can significantly lower your tax bill. Your tax preparer can also look at your returns and spending and make recommendations for adjustments you can make to your spending to make you more eligible for more deductions.
2. Reduces Errors
People make mistakes when they file their taxes. The IRS catches the errors, corrects them and moves on in some cases. In others, an error can lead to an audit or a penalty tax later on. No matter how it gets resolved, any mistake can delay your tax refund.
Tax preparers are familiar enough with the process of filing tax returns that the likelihood of them making a mistake is considerably lower than a person doing it. You can rest assured that your return will be accurate and prepared correctly when you hire a tax professional. You’ll end up getting your refund sooner and will be less likely to get hit with a penalty tax bill years later.
3. Can Increase Your Refund Amount
Some individual filers like to take the path of least resistance when filing their tax returns. That can mean claiming the standard deduction, even if itemizing would lower their tax bill. A tax preparer isn’t going to hurry through your return, hoping to get it done. They’ll look at all your receipts and expenses throughout the year and ask you about your spending and financial situation.
Their goal is to get your tax bill as low as possible. In some cases, that can mean you walk away with a much bigger refund.
4. Saves You Time
It takes time to prepare a tax return, and the time you might spend preparing your or your business’s taxes could be better spent doing something else. For example, worrying about your company’s tax return can take you away from performing more critical business tasks.
Hiring someone to prepare your return and review it for accuracy means you get time back to grow your business, work on more pressing projects or enjoy your life.
5. Helps You Avoid an Audit
The IRS is more likely to audit some types of returns than others, such as self-employed individuals or small businesses. Since a tax pro is less likely to make mistakes on a return and is more likely to know which deductions and credits you’re eligible for, hiring someone to prepare and file your tax return can make you less likely to be audited.
As an added benefit, if you should get an audit notice from the IRS, you know that you have someone in your corner. Your tax professional will go to bat for you, helping defend you throughout the audit process.
Tips for Working With a Tax Preparer
Whether you’re looking to hire a tax professional for your business or to file your individual tax return, here’s what you can do to make the process go smoothly:
- Start early: Tax professionals are available year-round, not just at tax time. For best results, connect with a tax preparer sooner rather than later. April 16 isn’t too early to start thinking about your next year’s tax return. Once you’ve found a tax preparer, you can send them receipts and documents as you receive them, making the filing process more efficient.
- Make sure the tax professional is qualified: Look for a tax preparer with the proper credentials and qualifications, such as a CPA or an IRS enrolled agent.
- Check their history: Get to know your tax preparer’s professional background. Look for reviews and recommendations from others. Also, confirm that their licenses and credentials are still valid.
- Ask about fees: Find out how much and how you’ll pay the tax professional. Choose a tax preparer who doesn’t charge based on the size of the refund.
- Review your return: While you can trust your tax professional to prepare an accurate return, it’s still critical that you review it before signing it and submitting it. You’re liable for the information on the return, even if someone else put it together for you.
Contact Polston Tax to Learn More
Polston Tax offers tax help and a full range of accounting and financial services. It’s never too early or too late to get help filing your tax return. Whether you’re looking to file an individual, self-employed or small business return, our team of tax professionals can help. Contact us today to learn more.